For many business owners who have reached Growing Pains or Maturity in their Business Lifecycle there can be a feeling of frustration. They have achieved a certain level of success, but are looking for something different to refresh and re-energise their business and to keep it on track.

The owners may have attended seminars, read lots of books, and may even have hired a coach, all of which contributed to their achievements. What they are looking for now is an ongoing way to keep them sharp, with a constant source of new ideas and advice.

For these businesses, participation in an Advisory and Accountability Board could be the right answer. This solution is for businesses with turnovers between $250k- $1m with Growing Pains or at Maturity, is based on how larger companies operate, but reconstructed and made affordable for small business.

How this works for larger businesses

All successful medium and large businesses operate with a board that includes non-executive directors, who are uninvolved with the day to day operations managed by the CEO and his/her executive team. The non-executives bring outside experience and perspective to the executives and hold them to account, ensure good governance and that the interests of all stakeholders are protected. They also ensure the executives do what is agreed by the board, and monitor performance.

Smaller business, but with more than $1m turnover, will often have Advisory Boards. The members of these boards are not directors in the company, as for larger businesses, but provide advice and accountability. The primary difference to formal boards is that these advisors can not enforce actions in the way that a board of directors is legally obliged to do – as non-executive directors in a legally constructed board can be held financially accountable for the failures of the executives if they have not fulfilled their legal obligations. As a result of this responsibility, formal boards have the authority to sack the CEO for non-performance.

The Advisory Board is a great arrangement for smaller businesses who do not want to dilute their control. Also, to attract directors who will be prepared to take on the legally required responsibilities of a formal board is a much higher cost than bringing in advisors without the legal burdens of a director. A business at this level may have 3-4 external advisors on their Advisory Board.

Advice and Accountability Board for smaller business owners

Clearly there is significant value in having ongoing advice and accountability for a business owner – no matter what their size. However, for businesses with turnover less than $1m, neither of the above board models is appropriate.

For this reason Empower Business Solutions provides an affordable alternative for smaller business owners, who have already achieved some success, know what they don’t know, and are seeking ongoing assistance as well as accountability, from a group of people who won’t accept excuses- their peers.

Empower Business Solutions provides the structure for the Advice and Accountability Board and the processes to enable such an organisation to work. Each selected board member will be able to use the other members as a sounding board for advice and will be held accountable by the board for completion of their agreed actions. Individual coaching will also be provided to board members. The Small Business Advice and Accountability Board will have many of the features of an Advisory board, but adapted to suit the smaller business environment. It would also be a lot more fun.

The Small Business Advice and Accountability Board is unlike a Mastermind group where process are more informal. The structure of the Small Business Advice and Accountability Board creates a far stonger discipline for its participants with a secretariat, private coaching and an independent chair as key points of difference. The board discipline is essential for success in business. Participants will be required to implement processes that will enable them to report on their performance each month and use the board for objective opinion on how to address the issues in their business. This will create a great foundation for future growth of their business.

The meetings are half a day a month and, at this time, only held in Melbourne. Note that participation in the Small Business Advice and Accoutability Board will require a signinificant commitmment on the part of business owners. This commitment will require the owner to dedicate time outside the meetings to follow up their board commitments and stand accountable for them each meeting – not for the faint hearted. 

If you are interested in participating in a Small Business Advice and Accountability Board, and would like further information, please contact Empower Business Solutions HERE for more information on the board. (Note that this is not a paid position for those looking for a job. There is a modest cost to participate to support the board processes. Only business owners should apply.)

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